As a person who doesn’t like to watch the Super Bowl but is still immensely interested in its commercials, I noticed one thing about the 2015 Super Bowl commercials: the advertisers finally decided to sell “feminism” to its 120 million viewers, realizing that almost half of that humongous number are women.
From #Nissan: With Dad to #Toyota Camry: My Bold Dad, from #GoDaddy, to Dove’s #RealStrength , the feminist message of a caring family man is presented to the public by car and personal hygiene product sellers, as if these billion-dollar companies care so much about feminism that they became advocates of the cause.
Rather than celebrating the hyper-masculine men who are strong, bond, and sexy (or glorifying a herd of drunk men with post-marriage identity crisis who unite under their “brohood” ), which these companies are famously known for doing in years past, they made a conscious change and churned out a new image of masculinity: the family man.
Who can complain about a family man, right? “Men are happy, women are also happy. Those feminist bitches can shut up now,” the advertisers might think. But, as feminists always knows best, I can tell you that all of these commercials are empty messages, serving up an inauthentic and unhealthy dish of pseudo-feminism to please the easy palates of the less critical viewers.
Taking a closer look at the commercials, I see mostly white middle-class men being heralded as wonderful daddies, who both provide and care for their children. What about all other daddies who are neither white nor middle-class? They may be working just as hard and care about their children just as much as those daddies I saw on the screen. Maybe to be a feminist daddy is really a privilege only white middle-class men can afford. If those ads actually advocate for feminism, then they should speak to a wider array of men rather than just a monochromatic targeted group.
On the other hand, there is another motive behind this Super Bowl’s surplus of “feminist” ads. The past season has been hard on the NFL. It faced several domestic violence scandals, including the most recent cases of Greg Hardy, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson (among several others). Moreover, NFL’s arrest rate for domestic violence is 55.4 percent., making it the worst arrest category for the NFL, according to a report by sports writer Benjamin Morris back in July 2014. With all those scandals and bad reputation, the NFL is under the public scrutiny more than ever. So it would not surprise me if the organization plotted a women-oriented PR campaign with the advertisers for this Super Bowl. Wouldn’t it be nice to talk about caring dads when your own players are abusing their wives and hurting the women around them?